Eau Claire (WQOW) -- Due to a serious lack of good weather this spring, the Immanuel Lutheran softball team will play only seven conference games this season.
Because of that, the Lancers have been taking a lot of batting practice against live pitching to prepare. They've also tried to get some practice time outdoors when the conditions allow it.
"They always want to go outside," says Immanuel head coach Mark Kranz, "so we go out to the asphalt ball diamond, the parking lot. And at least they are fielding balls in the air and in the wind, with the sun in their eyes."
"We've been doing a lot of cage work," says Lancers senior shortstop Sarah Tester, "hitting in the cage off a live pitching and the pitching machine and lots of grounders and short hops. We're just working in building up our strength and doing whatever we can so when we get out there we can do our best."
Immanuel Lutheran has a good core of players returning from the team that made it to the WIAA Division 4 sectionals last season, and the Lancers will lean on that experience whenever the shortened schedule begins.
"As a team, it's good to have the older people there to help out the younger people," says Lancers senior outfielder Cora Gerbitz, "but they are also experienced too and they know what they are doing."
"I have a lot of girls who went deep into the playoffs," says Kranz, "into the sectionals last year and most of those girls are back now. And so we have a good reason to be optimistic."
The Lancers are scheduled to host Independence/Gilmanton, Monday.
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